- Education and Training: extension, networking, workshop
The goal of this project was to develop curricula and provide in-depth training and information regarding Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and on-farm food safety practices to educators and other professionals who work with fruit and vegetable growers in Minnesota and the upper Midwest. Improved GAPs are critical to maintain the competitiveness and sustainability of Minnesota’s fruit and vegetable industry and protect the food supply from unintended microbial contamination. Farmers need help understanding and adopting GAPs on their farm, but few resources exist to help them outside a few key GAPs specialists in the state. This project provided 3 two-day training sessions and 1 one-day session to key agricultural educators and professionals in the region. Each training session included and on-site farm visit to provide a participatory experience and a chance to see fundamental applications of food safety practices. These educators can now provide training for other professionals and farmers, thus disseminating accurate, clear and useful GAPs information to farmers across the region. By educating cohorts of agricultural professionals, farmers gain access to GAPs educators in their regions for years to come. As a result of this project, farmers may be more likely to develop and adopt a farm food safety plan, improve their food safety practices and protect our local food supply from potential sources of microbial contamination.
The objectives of this project were to:
- Hold 4 workshops at which at least 80 Extension educators and agricultural professionals would be provided with GAPs information so they could be resources for on-farm food safety in their communities/regions.
- Create a set of practical, tailored GAPs curriculum for farmers in the Upper Midwest.
- Develop an online platform to provide information to participants before, during and after the GAPs workshops
- Recruit and communicate with a project advisory board of agricultural educators and farmers
- Disperse and share all GAPs training materials created for the project